We do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, of the affliction we experienced in Asia; for we were so utterly, unbearably crushed that we despaired of life itself. 2 Corinthians 1:8
Life begins on the other side of despair. Jean Paul Sartre
God had told Paul, that it was destined for him to go to Rome- because there were people to be saved there. But was Paul thinking about that when the ship was wrecked on their way there? Paul knew he was getting to God won’t do things how we want Him to, but our trust shouldn’t have our faith in the HOW… we should have our trust in HIM. Everyone goes through circumstances which push them to the point of despair, but most people push past it. Whenever I hear people’s trials and see their demeanor of hopelessness, I simply say “keep pushing”. I know it seems like nothing, but I know it is meaningful to someone who has been pushing against life’s whirlwinds and calamities. If you stop pushing, the idea is that you have given up and life will happen TO you, and not FOR you.
God comes in those moments, depending on our heart’s disposition. He sends signs and messages through people, and through whatever means necessary where you will get the memo. Over a year ago, I was very tired of the ups and downs ans my life. I was going to take my graduation pictures, but I was very sad. I pushed past it, got ready, got dressed and headed to the photography studio. On my way there I couldn’t shake this sad feeling, but I looked up to an ad on the train and it said “ANSWER YOUR CALLING”. My spirit immediately snapped out of it, and I began crying happy tears because of the overwhelming love I felt from father God. He knows I like to read, and that I always look up at the ads on the metro… He knew I would receive that sign.
One of the things which kept me from giving myself fully to God, were the cycles of failing before God which had wounded me. Knowing God comes with a responsibility, we recognize that god is holy and we are not! When you stand strong for a while, and get tired what can (and usually) happens is that sin begins to look appealing. This is why in Galatians, the word says do not get tired of doing the right thing, because in due season you will harvest from all the good you have planted (Galatians 6:9). God knows that weariness makes us weak, and when we are weak sin enters our lives without a fight. Needless to say, I knew that I was doing many of the right things but I was also doing things that were not so good. So I felt afraid of serving God, if in the end I would fail. God is not a yo-yo, He cannot be shaken and He wants us to get to a place where we are firm in Him. The enemy loves to attack us with discouragement, because we lose our courage for life.
I remind you today, go forward keep pushing against the tide. In order to walk, we have to step forward one step at a time. When we drive, we are pushing against the atmosphere. When swimming, we are swimming against the tide. As I say, God gives us trials and tests to equip us, to make us strong and fit for His call. Keep doing what God called you to do. Keep loving, keep forgiving, keep giving, keep offering mercy, keep singing Him praise. It will all make sense soon; you will look back on these times and be able to say “I fought a good fight”. Remember the scripture above, was said by the great saint Paul. The same Paul who said we are struggling, but we have not been destroyed, we are under persecution but God has comforted us, it is not i who lives, but Christ lives in me. The same Paul who preached throughout the nations, and the mighty Paul whose letters we read. Its okay to feel down and out, but expect a shift. Because it will come.
Father God, thank you for your unending mercy and your powerful grace. I thank you for having a church to worship, and that I don’t live in a country where people are being killed for being Christians and where they have to hide in caves to exalt you. I pray for those countries lord, and i pray your sustaining grace continues to empower them in the inner man to be faithful til the end. I pray for those here who have been waiting to see a transformation in themselves, in their situations and even in their churches and families. I pray they may expect to see the light at the end of the tunnel. And that they may also be strengthened in the inner man by your powerful love and enabling grace. In Jesus name, Amen.